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On Sunday night, among the topics listed as trending now by Yahoo! was diabetes.
It was yet another warning that diabetes is a growing epidemic in America. Type 1 appears most often in children — a disorder in which the pancreas stops making insulin, leading to too much glucose in the blood, and those children must take insulin the rest of their lives.
Yorkville junior tri-captain Sarah Megazzini has Type 1 diabetes, but she does not want to be defined by the condition, even though she can quote the exact date —May 23, 2005 — that she was first diagnosed.
Just after her family moved to Yorkville, Megazzini was having difficulty sleeping, suffered from fatigue, and generally did not feel right.
“As my mother said, ‘What 8-year-old would ask to go see a doctor?” she recalled. “But I knew something was wrong. Three days spent in the hospital, I was receiving insulin and being educated on how to count carbohydrates, and deal with high and low blood sugar levels.”
Megazzini could be a poster girl for the American Diabetes Association on how to handle the condition.
“I check my blood sugars about eight times a day: in the morning, before meals, before practice or games, sometimes during, basically any time I feel off,” Megazzini said. “Along with testing supplies, my bag has fruit snacks, juice boxes and granola bars if my sugars get too low.
“Early in 2007, I began using a pump in which I receive insulin through a port. If (the sugars are) too high, then I use the pump to give me my medicine. The bottom line, I decided this was not going to stop me from doing whatever I want to do.”
Originally, Megazzini’s love for soccer got her involved with a travel team. She also ran cross country and played basketball and soccer in middle school. She now combines playing club soccer with playing tennis and soccer for Yorkville.
A starter and All-Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference selection for soccer as a freshman and sophomore, she was also all-conference this past fall in tennis.
Megazzini is aiming for her 12th consecutive quarter on Yorkville’s High Honor Roll and is involved in the school’s National Honor Society, student council, student ambassadors, Key Club and choir. In addition to her academic achievements, she represented Yorkville at an Illinois Leadership Camp and is on the Big 12 Conference leadership unit.
Megazzini is one of seven juniors who are looking to increase the Foxes’ victory total for a third consecutive season.
“We’re still not there, but we’re getting closer to being the type of program we aim to be,” Megazzini said. “We’ve improved our level of intensity and commitment. It’s the same principles on the field as in the classroom. You have to focus on the task at hand and strive for success.”
Since lending her expertise to a fellow travel team player who also got diagnosed with Type 1, Megazzini has been asked by the school nurse to answer questions and share her expertise with others also dealing with diabetes. That experience has her considering a possible future in nutrition, dietetics or diabetes education.
“I’d like to help others dealing with health challenges in the same fashion my friends and family have supported me and provided understanding,” Megazzini explained. “Sometimes that’s as simple as providing me some space.”